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Pyongyang replaces top official dealing with Seoul

Kim Yong-chol, the envoy of North Korean20190425123705_l

Seoul, April 25 (IANS) North Korea has ousted Kim Yong-chol as the head of relations with South Korea, said a South Korean government official on Thursday.

South Korean lawmaker Lee Hye-hoon, the chairwoman of the National Assembly’s Intelligence Committee, told the media that Kim had been removed from his position running the government’s United Front Department sometime in mid-April, reports CNN.

The United Front Department manages with all things South Korea, including Pyongyang’s relationship with Seoul and using propaganda to foment pro-North Korean views in the South.

Kim has also served as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s counterpart in nuclear negotiations with the US and organising the two summits between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

It’s unclear if Kim Yong Chol’s role in talks with Washington has changed, as he still holds other important titles inside North Korea.

The announcement comes as Kim Jong-un is slated to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at Far Eastern State University in Vladivostok on Thursday.

Putin will be the sixth world leader to meet Kim Jong-un since he took control of North Korea in 2011.

So far, Kim has met US President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong.


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